It Is What It Is with Weedeater at the Camden Underworld, 8/3/15

Photo credited to Paul Chapman

Photo credited to Paul Chapman

Besides being a fan of Weedeater’s unrefined bucket of sludge metal, I had seen photos of them playing live, and needed to find out if they sounded as feral as they look.

I’ve only listened to two of their four albums and God Luck and Good Speed consistently, so I’m only able to name a couple of the songs from their hour long (I think) set. Yet from the first wail of feedback my attention was captured and placed wholly inside the riff.

Drummer Travis Owen, who had his drum kit set up at the front of the stage at an off angle, and guitarist Dave ‘Shep’ Shepherd, played with an aggressive swing, the beat dragging like wellies through clay at times, particularly on God Luck and Good Speed. But really, I spent most of the show watching bass guitarist and vocalist Dave ‘Dixie’ Collins. I’m pretty sure he was wasted by the time he walked onto the stage, and his first words to the crowd, over thick feedback, were ‘We’re Weedeater, we fuckin suck, go get your money back, you stupid assholes’.

Every song started with feedback, every song had Collin’s screeching, cackling vocals, over lumbering, heavy blue riffs, vibing Black Sabbath, and the bass was really, really distorted all of the time. Collins played his grime and gaffa tape–covered P Bass to the effect of it having equal prominence to the guitar, with Geezer Butler–esque lines being struck around the middle third of the fretboard. Everything emanating from the stage was either distorted or the sound of a drum being slammed, fuelled by some compressing volumes.The support act could be seen looking on and smoking a joint just offstage, and I closed my eyes a few times, wandering off into the noise.

Seeing a band like Weedeater live really reminds me of how weird most people think this sort of music is, and this was visually complemented by Owen constantly backflipping his sticks, Shepherd’s graffiti–covered Les Paul, and Collins spending a probably medically–inadvisable amount of time pulling his signature cross–eyed, gurning bass face, and doing this unfathomable thing where would spin his cap around on his head. Between songs he took long slugs on a rapidly emptying bottle of Jack Daniels, and greeted the demands of ‘wooo….one more song…yeargh!’ with ‘We’ll give you ten more songs…tomorrow, in France’. In spite of the misanthropic lyrics (‘Untied we stand/mankind is unkind, man’), vicious levels of distortion and mocking of the audience, when asked by my friends what I thought afterwards, I found myself saying ‘…they’re quite a funny band really’. That, and even more feral–sounding than they look.

Review ‘Em All: RE:MIND VOL 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs this is a compilation I can’t justifiably review it as a singular entity, but I can do my best to point you, loyal reader and rocking listener, in the way of some excellent bands.

Weareripcord is a Glasgow based collective who create and work on charitable projects, the second of which is RE:MIND VOL 1, a compilation released on Bandcamp with the aim of raising funds for the mental health charities MIND and SAMH, with each download charged at £4. I came across this compilation after it was recommended to me by a member of one of the bands who are on it (Ithaca), so yeah, full disclaimer right there.

The 22 tracks that make up this compilation are what I like to think of as emo living up to its potential; heavy, confessional, angsty, and a bit arty with the musical substance to back it up. The bands all share these properties and the common elements of metal, hardcore and emo, yet they are all chopped and reworked so well that each band has their own vibe. Combined with often intelligible lyrics, this results in a diverse and captivating listen. Inevitably, I preferred some bands to others, but the quality level is consistently good and often great. Of particular note are Svalbard, Ithaca, Home Ties, Regression, Brightside, In Arms, No Honour, and World Weary, the last of whom finish Head Check with the furious yet entertaining lines ‘Shame on you! Don’t fuck with my head! I hate this world!’

On a final note, these bands are from all over the British Isles, so I don’t really get the impression that this compilation represents a scene; these sort of bands are timeless, and have always been around (Weak Teeth), rarely getting big (except for you Touché Amoré) but just being excellent at what they do. I am speculating, but I get the impression that these musicians listen to a very diverse range of music whilst keeping what they write heavy, and have the ability to blend it all into something imaginative. Give it a listen, smash a vase, follow the link below, and buy it.